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De nos jours

MORE than 50 years old now, Sir Michael Tippett's oratorio A Child of Our Time is to have its French premiere on Monday - in the south-west corner of Brittany, writes Andrew Green. It forms part of the 1992 Semaines Musicales in Quimper, with not a British performer in sight: the line-up features soloists, including the soprano Jo-Ann Pickens and the tenor Howard Haskin, a choir from Brno, and the Orchestre de Bretagne conducted by Claude Bardon.

The festival's president Raymond Darrieu has secured a France Musique recording. Whether this signals wider national recognition is another matter. Festival vice-president Michel Legrand (no relation to any namesake) recently called the distributor of one CD: 'You know how many copies they have sold? Seventeen.'

Trial by water

THIS autumn's launch of the New Grove Dictionary of Opera faced undoing by flood last week when the publisher's central heating system burst in the small hours, immediately above the stack of corrected proofs for the entire four-volume work. By chance two Macmillan editors, working an all-night stint, noticed what was at immediate risk. Almost everything was rescued from the cascade, and publication is still expected on time.

Front desks

THE BBC Philharmonic, much in the public ear with Proms this week (see review below), has become the first BBC orchestra to follow fashion among the nation's other bands and appoint an education and community specialist. Martin Maris, currently of Wigan and Leigh College, will start in September to make links with schools, colleges, and other music and arts groups, working closely with the orchestra's composer/conductor Sir Peter Maxwell Davies - who has long shown by example his own interest in the field.

Members of the orchestra are currently on a training programme in communication skills. So far the BBC orchestras in general have been slow to enter a field that has seemed vital in improving contact with audiences and the public at large. The post, says the Philharmonic, reflects 'the orchestra's musical and cultural commitment to the North of England.'

YOU thought the Edinburgh Festival was for established art and the Fringe for the way-out? Latest example of the wheel of fortune's turning, as Schoenberg launches the concert programme, is a Fringe production of Gilbert and Sullivan. Ruddigore, from the National Student Theatre Company, brings award credentials as Outstanding Production of the 1992 National Student Drama Festival. It runs from 18 to 22 August at George Watson's College (reservations: 031-452 9620).

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